The People Have Lost Hope

Hopelessness and despair have yet again come into the lives of ordinary people. The glimmer of hope that shone at the beginning of the peace process is slowly fading away with the latest wave of insecurity. The Taliban have not retreated even one step from their position, and the government has failed to change this situation. Among the people, the fear of a future worse than the days they have recently experienced weighs heavier than the hope for a better future. Changing this situation is a great responsibility that the government should not let go.

Peace talks, at various levels, have continued in the country. But aside from stepping up their offensive operations, the Taliban have returned to their old ways of land mines and bombings. Targeted killings are another type of operation that the Taliban have taken up for several months now.

Before the start of the peace talks, life in most cities were relatively calm. But now, the situation has changed, and very few districts and provinces have been spared violence in the past few days.

Roadside bombings continue as before, and the use of magnetic IEDs to assassinate government officials has increased. At the same time, car bombings continue, and suicide attacks have resumed. Two days ago, homes in Ghazni were hit by a rocket, and a total of eight civilians were killed in a series of rocket attacks. In the past two days, Kandahar, Kabul, Maidan Wardak, Herat and Paktia witnessed several landmine and car bomb explosions. The Taliban claimed responsibility for some of the blasts.

This heightened level of violence is a sign of the worsening situation in the country. People, seeing this situation, obviously see the future as ugly and dark.

The general public have no expectations from the Taliban, who use violence as a tool for their own political purposes. This is because the Taliban have repeatedly shown through their actions that the aspirations, expectations and demands of the people are not important to them, but that the only thing that matters to them is the group’s ideological and political goals. It should therefore come as no surprise that the people do not expect respect for their lives from a group which has used the killing of people as a tool to achieve its goals. If such an expectation could have been placed on the Taliban, the war in the country would have already stopped and bloodshed would have come to an end. Unfortunately, the Taliban are not a group that will easily abandon the ideology of violence and exclusion dictated by their totalitarian politics, for the sake of the aspirations and expectations of the people, leave alone respect for human lives.

On the other hand, the government has a responsibility to address this undesirable situation. A faint glimmer of hope keeps the hearts of the people alive and opens the window for a better tomorrow. The state must organize itself. The cabinet, which is a necessity in any political system, is still controlled by chairpersons. Appointments are not rule-based. Lethargy and impotence ripple through all levels of government, while unemployment and poverty are on the rise. Efforts to relieve the problems, however small, can help bring hope into the lives of the people.

The government must also clarify the country’s perspective on war and peace. In recent weeks, no progress has been made at the negotiating table, nor have any victories been observed on the battlefield. The stagnant state of affairs in both areas is a sign that the government is still at the same point as it was before.

There are no miracles to be expected, as the Taliban has a very clear position. This group will not surrender, nor will it give up the use of violence in the current situation. The country’s situation requires the government to clarify its position. The path towards the future as the state decides on what actions to take to change the current equation of war and peace must be determined with the people in mind. Clarity on the current ambiguous state of affairs will help people see some light in the future, allowing them to guide their own way of life accordingly.

The search for a return of hope to people’s lives will give the government a better chance to continue its existence and to maneuver. The death of hope is the death of states. Therefore, the government must organize itself in all areas and lift the people out of the current state of despair.